August 28, 2018

CNAS President Richard Fontaine remembers his time as Senator John McCain's foreign policy advisor

By Richard Fontaine

Richard Fontaine has many memories of working and travelling with Senator John McCain. But one of the highlights includes a trip to the northern part of Canada, which resulted in McCain going on a quest to look for the home belonging to British-Canadian poet Robert Service.

McCain, who died Saturday following a battle with brain cancer, had a special connection to one of Service's poems, The Cremation of Sam McGee. He had memorized it during his years as a prisoner in Vietnam, after a fellow prisoner recited it to him through a tapping code over the walls.

Fontaine, who was McCain's foreign policy advisor between 2004 and 2009, worked on McCain's presidential campaign in 2008 and travelled with the Arizona senator on many trips, including Yukon many years ago. It was there he learned about McCain's appreciation for The Cremation of Sam McGee.

Fontaine spoke to As It Happens guest host Helen Mann about the trip and his memories of the late senator.

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